By Pam Greene, ASF Program Director

November and early December is a busy time at the Adaptive Sports Center; hundreds of volunteers attend indoor and on snow training sessions before we welcome skiers and snowboarders for the opening weekend for our winter program.   All our volunteer instructors attend training each year. For the new volunteers it is eight full days of training, for more experienced instructors it is fewer days, but more hands on and in depth. We have an impressive crew of about 40 experienced instructors who lead training clinics for their fellow instructors. In addition, we bring in trainers from the Professional Ski Instructors of America & American Association of Snowboard Instructors to add a different perspective.

Each of our two volunteer meetings in mid-October had about 100 attendees. At those meetings, there was some socializing, some paperwork filling out, a little info on what’s new at Windham Mountain Resort, and a series of activities relating to communication.

In October, 20 trainers spent a day reviewing our training clinic content and exploring tools that are available to instructors and trainers to help teach our students the best lesson possible. We also got a day on snow after Thanksgiving to work on our own skills and refine some of the clinic content.

We are blessed to have some great trainers in the NYC area who put a lot of energy into the creation of two highly educational days of training in Queens. These days allowed about 20 instructors to do some of their training closer to home.

Jack Frost, with the help of some very hard working snowmakers from the Windham Snowflake Factory, was very generous this year and supplied two plus feet of snow for Thanksgiving weekend at Windham Mountain Resort.  Training groups on the hill were focused on fundamental movements of skiing and snowboarding; how to make your body move efficiently so the skis or board perform. When the “early season” legs got fatigued, some groups came inside to focus on movement analysis. Starting the first weekend in December the experienced instructors will move on to disability specific training to hone their skills for working with our students.

For those of us who love education and learning, this time of year is filled with joy as we see volunteers gain new skills and know that they have just gained a tool to help them work better with a student this winter.  The holiday season comes early to the ASF as the return of our volunteers marks the start of our winter season of giving by these amazing individuals who donate their time and share their knowledge and joy of skiing and snowboarding with our amazing students.  Reminds me of a tune you hear this time of year….with a twist!

  • On the first day of training our volunteers gave to us: lots of happy smiles and stories of their summer
  • On the second day of training our volunteers gave to us: insight into why they love to spend time with our students
  • On the third day of training our volunteers gave to us: lots of probing questions about technical aspects of skiing and snowboarding
  • On the fourth day of training our trainers gave to us: the knowledge acquired from over 350 years teaching experience in a group of our trainers sliding together on the hill.
  • On the fifth day of training our new volunteers gave to us: a glimpse of 25 new volunteers’ passion for working with our students
  • On the sixth day of training our volunteers gave to us: an education on fun
  • On the seventh day of training our volunteers gave to us: ways to learn more about teaching people when you are far from the snow
  • On the eighth day of training our volunteers gave to us: lots of merriment in reconnecting with each other
  • On the ninth day of training our volunteers gave to us: a love of snow in the early winter
  • On the tenth day of training our volunteers gave to us: the joy of seeing someone’s face light up as they gain a deeper understanding of a technical concept
  • On the eleventh day of training our volunteers gave to us: happiness from their dedication to our mission
  • On the twelfth day of training our volunteers gave to us: an appreciation for their never-ending ability to adapt to ever changing situations
 
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